It doesn’t take long to encounter one of the many students clubs and associations here at USQ. From the Student Paramedic Society, to the Dungeons and Dragons Club, there is something out there for everyone. You can form a club on almost anything – and it’s easier than you think. As a co-founder of the International Students' Association, I am here to guide you through the process so that you too can form a club of your own.
There are four main steps to creating a club at USQ which include:
Before you can start the initial process, you need to have an idea. There are a number of categories for clubs including academic, cultural, sporting, and special interests. Consider what this idea might fall into and build from there. When forming a club, I have found that talking to a lecturer or friend you have a good rapport with is an excellent first step as they can provide valuable feedback.
Once you have your idea ironed out, bring it to a group of friends and start brainstorming what your club is going to do.
Think about the events you might hold and what your goals might be. You don’t have to fill your calendar for a year with planned events yet, but giving it some thought can help make your workload lighter later in the creation process.
The application is your first step to formally creating your club. It’s a short application which can be filled out online and includes some of the preliminary information like name, email, contacts, and the overall purpose of your club. The application will ask about incorporation, insurance, and what university support you’d like to receive. Discussing your needs with USQ Student Life is a great resource to help build your club.
The application helps to highlight how the University can help and includes a lot of support options you can avail yourself of. Making use of this support will alleviate numerous costs and burdens you’d otherwise have to consider if you weren’t creating the club with the University – such as hall hire or insurance.
Once you have submitted your application, Student Life will contact you and provide feedback. Should your application be accepted, you can start on the next step … recruitment!
Recruitment is an important step with creating a club as you will need members to ratify your constitution and create an executive team to support running the club. If your club is academic, consider speaking to a relevant lecturer in the field so you can speak at classes to encourage others to join. A sign-up sheet or a mailing list is a useful way to broadcast events and encourage visitors to your events – particularly when it’s new! Alternatively, reach out to organisations, other Clubs and teams that share similar goals to your club.
The University has a broad community with many different groups of people and interests, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help or publicity for your new club. Be patient during recruitment as it might take time to build up your membership.
The constitution is an important step in founding your club as it formalises the rules and regulations, checks and balances, and the organisational structure. I suggest writing your constitution during recruitment as it will be a task that can be formed immediately with the new members you are recruiting.
While it can seem intimidating, a constitution is very simple. Student Life offers a template you can access for free and it doesn’t have to be any specific length or style, but should include all the necessary details you need to govern your constitution.
Generally, this includes the information you will need for AGMs – particularly with membership and executive positions. Your constitution should include the goals of your club, what roles exist and their responsibilities, as well as information related to membership such as requirements and costs. Checks and balances including election of executives, removal authority, and formalities like a "quorum" (how many people you need to make decisions) should also be included.
Once you have the membership you need and the constitution ready, you can hold your Annual General Meeting. This meeting is only held once a year and covers all the important topics. This is usually the ratification of your constitution, voting the executive positions, and membership. Your first AGM will be the most important as you will be voting in all your new changes to the club which will provide much-needed structure.
The details of your AGM should be compiled into a document called “minutes”, which are required by Student Life and any other applicable third parties. How you run your AGM is up to you, but it should ultimately be structured, timely, and provide plenty of opportunities for member feedback as you want the topics of your AGM to be agreeable for everyone.
Once these steps have been completed, you are ready to finalise your club. Any required documents (including your constitution, minutes, etc.) should be sent to Student Life so they can review and approve your club.
If you choose to incorporate your club, you will need to also provide evidence of incorporation.
Once your club is approved, you are ready to go! Your club should be approved by USQ and you have a strong member base to get started with your events. From here the next stage of your club life begins. What you choose to do is up to you. Just have fun!